Monday, July 28, 2008

Hamfatter, Peter Jones, and the business of music.

Description: This is about a band that appeared on the BBC2 program Dragon's Den (you can watch it until Sun 3rd Aug if you've not seen it) who were seeking investment to enable them to record a new album. Their single came out last week. Peter Robinson at the Guardian has offered his opinion of the band - awful - and what adopting this sort of entrepreneurial model (of bands finding 'angel' investors) would mean for the future of music - Peter is unenthusiastic.

I watched Hamfatter do their thing on Dragon's Den. I then switched off. I should like this show. Somtimes I've enjoyed the drama to which the format lends itself, but equally I've found it cringe-making in the extreme. And my biggest problem is that I can't stand the Dragons. Peter Jones in particular.

I think the Hamfatter manager dude did a good pitch. But what a mug punter Peter Jones turned out to be ! £75K to own a piece of the Hams (at least that's what Peter thinks he's bought). In closing the deal he used the classic 'I know people at Sony' - that line must have been used so many times! And I loved the way he tried to catch the band out by trying to get them to play a snippet of their new material. Like hearing it would have made a difference ! What a way to make an investment decision.

In recent years Venture Capitalists have been trying so hard to make us believe that there is rhyme and reason behind what they do, and that they are a serious profession. And there goes Mr 'I'm a big boy' Jones sticking his size 14s right in. Er, Peter, you've just become the Ham's agent - still he's already got the pimp suit.

I don't know why Peter Jones aggravates me so much. Maybe I'm jealous of his money, or his height, or his ability for self-delusion. But I'm sure that there's something very wrong about the Beeb taking money from me on pain of prison, giving airtime to Peter for him to self-promote, and then him taking a financial interest in a project that gets reported on the Beeb's own news! Now, to be fair to Peter that might not be such a bad punt after all. Take a financial interest in a band that are guaranteed a huge audience just by virtue of you taking a financial interest in them. Nice. And what better people to have on side than those whose fortunes are linked to yours. The Beeb's actions have made far more difference to the Hams than Peter's £75K ever could. What a Dragon's Den success story a Ham's No1 would be.

cheer up lads ! you just got 75 grand ! - The Hams

Record companies have been doing this stuff for years - they get the right relationships with the right people in the largest media companies. When there's brown envelopes involved its called Payola. When the media's involved its called cross promotion. Perhaps its fitting that the recording industry should have Peter Jones replace it. They both exhibit the same level of cool, authenticity, and clear-headed decision making skills. The gossip was that Guy Hands at EMI told his people to sign the band at any cost. I can believe it.

The band have become the plaything of the Beeb and some blokes with money - I wouldn't say unwittingly though. If they had any creative integrity prior to their Dragon's Den appearance it's x-factored it out of them. I don't think that'll bother their new agent though. I reckon Jones wants to become the C21st Branson and he'll figure that this will help him. It probably will in terms of publicity, but financially an ISA would be a better bet.

'The girl I love' - the well timed single release from the Hams - entered the singles charts yesterday at number 71 (6 places above Sam Sparro's latest). So the Ham's fans have made the purchase, and now we'll wait and see if anyone else does. No doubt Peter Jones' friends and relatives employees are receiving emails from him right now - 'Buy Ham, Buy Ham!'

No comments:

Post a Comment